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Diamond Guns and Steel Paper

Diamond Guns and Steel Paper

Question Description

For this assignment, there are five questions to answer. Each question should have 7-10 sentences minimum clearly answering what is being asked. Quotes should be used often, but not too much. The analysis matters more. Proper citation is needed when quotes are used. I have attached readings as pdf documents which should be the only sources used. Do not use outside sources.

Read :

Diamond, Guns, Germs & Steel: the Fate of Human Societies, 1-66; 405-425; 450-464

Inside Higher Education, Guns, Germs & Steel Reconsidered

William McNeil, The World of Jared Diamond

Tomlinson, A Review of Guns, Germs & Steel

Answer all of the following:

1. William McNeil says that “Diamond’s argument exceeds its limits.” What does he mean? What are McNeill’s objections to GGS? Do you share McNeil’s reservations or consider them nitpicking?

2. What is Yali’s question? Is it the right question, the most important question? Or is it, as anthropologists have suggested, a question that Diamond misunderstands or, as historians have commented a question which needs to be historicized (that is related to the context in which it arose, the twenty-first century)?

3. All of Diamond’s critics accuse him of “determinism.” What elements in Diamond’s argument are “deterministic?” Be specific and provide examples.

4. Guns, Germs & Steel has been wildly popular. College students have claimed it was their favorite reading their freshmen year. People as diverse as Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and George Romney are fans. A video version played on the Public Broadcasting Station to large audiences. In academic circles, GSS has not been well received. But people love it. Why?

5. McNeill a distinguished historian, observed in an otherwise critical review that Guns, Germs and Steel was “persuasive on the usefulness of looking at the big picture.”(5) Do you agree? Do you think that “big picture” history is superior to microhistory? How so? Does it avoid the pitfalls (listed by Bell) of the micro approach? Or does it just fall into problems of its own making? Be precise and do express your opinion.


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